Why the Florida Solar Initiative Is Losing
FlaglerLive | August 3, 2015
By Peter Schorsch
I love solar power.
You love solar power.
Everyone loves solar power.
It’s the ice cream of energy production: It should come with sprinkles.
There is so much to love. And unlike a toddler with a cone, there’s no messy cleanup: Nobody’s blowing the tops off mountains to mine it, there are no issues with storing radioactive canisters in a cave or shooting chemicals into our underground water supply. And for those of you who care about such things, there are no global warming concerns.
Other than the fact that our power demands generally outstrip its capacity and is (even with the tax breaks) kind of expensive, it’s a pretty good thing.
So why are voters not coming out of the woodwork to support the initiative being pushed by the group known as Floridians for Solar Choice? A recent Mason-Dixon poll covered and reviewed in Florida Politics showed it failing miserably and to many people I have spoken with, they are genuinely confused. Only 30 percent said they would vote for it while 45 percent opposed it. How can this be? Who would vote against the ice cream of power?
I have a theory.
When your petition begins with not one but two negative words, voters get confused. Here, read it for yourself:
“Limits or Prevents Barriers to Local Solar Electricity Supply”
I think that when respondents taking a poll hear two negative terms, “limits” followed by “prevents” and then they hear something positive, “local solar electricity,” it can easily be misunderstood to sound like it is anti-solar. It’s simple algebra … a negative times a positive is a negative.
Am I wrong?
Can it be that people fed up with solar power and don’t want to muck up the constitution? (You know, that hallowed scroll that ensures we can’t put pregnant pigs in confinement.)
If I am, then how come the other proposal, titled “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice” scores a solid 66 percent? Read that carefully. It has the best words ever: Rights. Consumers. Choice. Solar Energy. They are all positive and happy terms. It’s a nice consensus in a single phrase.
The problem isn’t with the popularity of solar power, but the poor choice of words written by the people who have the best-ever name for their group: Floridians for Solar Choice.
I wonder why the same folks who came up with such a great-sounding title for their organization, came up with such convoluted negative-sounding language for their ballot measure. They began with vanilla or some really awesome chocolate chip cookie dough and ended up with a Rocky Road.
Ok, the metaphor just didn’t work there … but you get the idea.